Indonesia: Close 'Zoo of Death'!

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Those who have been to the Surabaya Zoo in Indonesia can attest to the constant suffering that occurs there on a daily basis. Animals are confined to trash-littered, barren, cramped cages that are measly fractions of the wild habitats that they would call home, and there is nothing in their cages and pens to occupy their keen minds. It is a virtual hell on Earth for animals—a former member of the zoo's management estimates that 50 animals died at the zoo in a three month period, and this is just a small fraction of the animals who have suffered and died at the hands of this decrepit facility.

A giraffe named Kliwon died at the zoo after swallowing nearly 20 kilograms of litter that had been thrown into his pen. Rozek, a 13-year-old Sumatran tiger, starved to death after his digestive tract rotted away from being fed meat laced with formaldehyde. Weather-related conditions were blamed for the death of a wildebeest and a young orangutan named Betty. Michael the lion was found dead, hanging from wires used to open the door of his cage. Even if only one of these incidents had occurred, it would indicate a significant problem with the zoo's management. But together, they demonstrate a need for drastic and immediate action.

While it's too late for many animals, hundreds of others endure the zoo's hellish conditions every day. The Surabaya Zoo should be closed immediately, and the animals should be sent to sanctuaries or other facilities that are better able to care for them. The world is watching and waiting for officials to show their commitment to animal welfare.

Meri Binsar
Simorangkir
Consulate General of Indonesia in Chicago

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